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Path Modeling to Bankruptcy: Causes and symptoms of the banking crisis

by Carlos Serrano-Cinca of the University of Zaragoza,
Yolanda Fuertes-Callén of the University of Zaragoza,
Begoña Gutiérrez-Nieto of the University of Zaragoza, and
Beatriz Cuéllar-Fernández of the University of Zaragoza

March 2011

Abstract: This paper studies the bankruptcy of USA banks since 2009. It first analyzes the financial symptoms that precede bankruptcy, such as low profitability, insufficient revenue, or low solvency ratios. It also goes into the causes of these symptoms. It poses several hypotheses on causes of failure, such as loans growth (some of them risky), specialization (in this case concentration in real estate), and the pursuit of a turnover-driven strategy neglecting margin. It presents and tests a path modeling to bankruptcy based on structural equations, hypotheses tests and logistic regression. Results show that, five years before the crisis, failed banks had, compared to solvent banks, the following: higher loan growths, higher concentration on real estate loans, higher risk ratios, higher turnover, but lower margins. A relationship is found between symptoms and causes. Failed banks present a significant relationship between the percentage of real estate loans and risk. This relationship is negative in excellent banks, confirming that they allocated less real estate loans with higher quality. Non-failed banks compensated increases in risk by strengthening their core capital.

Keywords: Bankruptcy, financial ratios, banking crisis, solvency, PLS-Path modeling

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